The policy statement on drugs and alcohol is designed to address the School’s concerns about substance abuse and to ensure that the BCI community complies with the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (the “Drug-Free Workplace Act”) and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 (the “Drug-Free Schools Act”).
The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of controlled substances or alcohol is prohibited in or on BCI premises, in vehicles provided by BCI, at any work-site or location at which School duties are being performed by BCI employees or students, or as part of any of BCI’s activities. Common examples of controlled substances, as defined by law, are cocaine, marijuana and heroin. The School will take disciplinary action against violators, consistent with federal, state and local laws. Such action may include requiring satisfactory participation in a substance abuse treatment, counseling, or education program as a condition of reinstatement or continuation with BCI, suspension, and referral for prosecution.
Students are advised that use, possession, distribution, and manufacture of any controlled substance is a violation of BCI’s Standard of Conduct. Additionally, such may be a violation of state and/or Federal law. Violations are typically prosecuted as a criminal offense and include penal sanctions and fines. Generally, penal sentences may invoke mandatory punishments including life imprisonment. Fines may range up to and exceed $1,000,000.00.
The following are an incomplete lists of the dangers associated with Alcohol and Drug abuse:
Health hazards associated with the excessive use of alcohol or with alcohol dependency include dramatic behavioral changes, retardation of motor skills, and impairment of reasoning and rational thinking. These factors result in a higher incidence of accidents and accidental death for such persons compared to nonusers of alcohol. Nutrition also suffers and vitamin and mineral deficiencies are frequent. Prolonged alcohol abuse can cause any or all of the following: bleeding from the intestinal tract, damage to nerves and the brain, impotence, psychotic behavior, loss of memory and coordination, damage to the liver often resulting in cirrhosis, severe inflammation of the pancreas, and damage to the bone marrow, heart, testes, ovaries and muscles. Damage to the nerves and organs is usually irreversible. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in alcoholics and is 10 times more frequent than in nonalcoholics. Sudden withdrawal of alcohol from persons dependent on it will cause serious physical withdrawal symptoms. Drinking during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. Overdoses of alcohol can result in respiratory arrest and death.
The use of illicit drugs usually causes the same general types of physiological and mental changes as alcohol, though frequently those changes are more severe and more sudden. Death or coma resulting from overdose of drugs is more frequent than from alcohol.
Cocaine is a stimulant that is most commonly inhaled as a powder. It can be dissolved in water and used intravenously. The cocaine extract (crack) is smoked. Users can progress from infrequent use to dependence within a few weeks or months. Psychological and behavioral changes which can result from use include over-stimulation, hallucinations, irritability, sexual dysfunction, psychotic behavior, social isolation, and memory problems. An overdose produces convulsions and delirium and may result in death from cardiac arrest. Cocaine dependency requires considerable assistance, close supervision and treatment.
Patterns of use and associated effects are similar to cocaine. Severe intoxication may produce confusion, rambling or incoherent speech, anxiety, psychotic behavior, ringing in the ears, and hallucinations. Intense fatigue and depression resulting from use can lead to severe depression. Large doses may result in convulsions and death from cardiac or respiratory arrest.
These amphetamine-based hallucinogens are sold in powder, tablet, or capsule form and can be inhaled, injected, or swallowed. They cause similar, but usually milder, hallucinogenic effects than those of LSD. Because they are amphetamines, tolerance can develop quickly and overdose can happen. Exhaustion and possible liver damage can occur with heavy use. In high doses, these drugs can cause anxiety, paranoia and delusions. While rare, these drugs have been associated with deaths in users with known or previously undiagnosed heart conditions.
This drug is in the same category of drugs as Valium, a benzodiazepine, but is more potent than Valium. Initially, it causes a sense of relaxation and a reduction of anxiety. At higher doses, light-headedness, dizziness, lack of coordination and slurred speech occur. The drug affects memory and, in higher doses or if mixed with other drugs or alcohol, can result in amnesia for the time period the user is under the influence. Because of this amnesia effect, Rhohypnol has been given intentionally to others to facilitate sexual assault and other crimes. Combining this drug with other sedating drugs, including alcohol, will increase the intensity of all effects of the drug and, in sufficient doses, can cause respiratory arrest and death. Dependency can occur.
Addiction and dependence can develop rapidly. Use is characterized by impaired judgment, slurred speech, and drowsiness. Overdose is manifested by coma, shock, and depressed respiration, with the possibility of death from respiratory arrest. Withdrawal problems include sweating, diarrhea, fever, insomnia, irritability, nausea, vomiting, and muscle and joint pains.
These include LSD, mescaline, peyote, and phencyclidine or PCP. Use impairs and distorts one’s perception of surroundings, causes mood changes, and results in visual hallucinations that involve geometric forms, colors, persons, or objects.
Fumes from these substances cause problems similar to alcohol. Incidents of hallucinations and permanent brain damage are more frequent with chronic use.
Marijuana is usually ingested by smoking. Smoking marijuana causes disconnected ideas, alteration of depth perception and sense of time, impaired judgment and impaired coordination. Prolonged use can lead to psychological dependence.
Damage from intravenous drug use. In addition to the adverse effects associated with the use of a specific drug, intravenous drug users who use unsterilized needles or who share needles with other drug users can develop HIV, hepatitis, tetanus (lock jaw), and infections in the heart. Permanent damage or death can result.
This is a psychoactive designer drug derived of natural herbs sprayed with synthetic chemicals that, when consumed, allegedly mimic the effects of cannabis. Synthetic cannabis can precipitate psychosis and in some cases it is prolonged. These studies suggest that synthetic cannabinoid intoxication is associated with acute psychosis, worsening of previously stable psychotic disorders, and also may have the ability to trigger a chronic (long-term) psychotic disorder among vulnerable individuals such as those with a family history of mental illness.
(Brand names include Blizzard, Blue Silk, Charge+, Ivory Snow, Ivory Wave, Ocean Burst, Pure Ivory, Purple Wave, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Vanilla Sky, White Dove, White Knight and White Lightning). Bath salts are a dangerous drug whose full risks and effects are still unknown. Doctors have reported that bath salts can cause rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pains, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia and delusions. Long-term effects are believed to be similar to methamphetamine (meth). Taking a lot of it for a long time can lead to emotional and physical “crash-like” feelings of depression, anxiety and intense cravings for more of the drug. Since it contains amphetamine-like chemicals, bath salts will always carry the risk of stroke, heart attack and sudden death.
Because of the considerable health risks involved in drug and alcohol use, resources are available to assist the BCI community in dealing with drug and alcohol abuse problems. The following are all strictly confidential services:
- The staff at Massachusetts Drug Alcohol Detox provides diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Call your primary care physician or nurse practitioner’s office for an appointment. If you have not yet selected a -primary care clinician, call 617-207-6393 for assistance and scheduling. For more information, visit:
www.massachusettsdrugalcoholdetox.com or visit 1309 Beacon Street, Suite 300 Brookline, MA 02446
- For immediate care of acute problems, contact the nearest medical care center or hospital. Or in the case of a medical emergency dial 911.
- Alcoholism is a chronic medical disease that can cause emotional and social problems. The BCI counseling staff is available to discuss such concerns and provide referrals as needed. Call the Washington Street campus branch of BCI at 617-383-6058 to schedule an appointment or request a referral.
- Alcoholics Anonymous is the well-established 12-step program for people who are trying to achieve or maintain sobriety. There are several AA meetings each day of the week; call 617-426-9444.
- Al-Anon meetings provide help for friends and families of alcoholics, whether or not the alcoholic is involved with AA. There are also special meetings for children of alcoholics. Call 617-426-9444 for more information.
- Narcotics Anonymous is a 12-step program for people trying to stop using drugs or keep off them (866-624-3578).
These programs and offices are part of BCI’s ongoing effort to maintain a drug-free workplace. The School will adhere to strict policies of confidentiality for all participants in drug/alcohol abuse rehabilitation programs as described in School and federal regulations covering confidentiality of student health records.